TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay area congressional representative and ardent Rep. Jim Jordan supporter could not cast his vote for the Ohio lawmaker to become Speaker of the House on Tuesday afternoon.
Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis missed the initial vote to attend his mother-in-law’s funeral, according to his staff.
“Congressman Bilirakis will continue to be fully supportive of Speaker-Designate Jordan’s candidacy when he arrives in D.C. this evening and looks forward to voting for him in subsequent votes,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement.
In his absence, Jordan’s supporters failed to pull together the 217 votes needed to win the Speakership. 20 House Republicans withheld their support and cast ballots for other candidates like former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The Democrats’ pick, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, received 212 votes.
In an op-ed published to The Hill, Bilirakis called Jordan “a warrior” and urged his fellow Republicans to back him. He vowed to return to D.C. and said he looked forward to voting for Jordan in a post published to X on Tuesday.
Bilirakis represents part of Pasco County and all of Citrus and Hernando counties.